Global progress on social media accessibility

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Tuesday, 12 March 2013 15:42pm

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the release of our sociABILITY: social media for people with a disability resources. The project was the first of its kind and is being used as a keystone in a global push towards recognising people with disability as a large and influential audience on social media.

While social media networks still present access barriers, there are steps organisations and individuals can take to reduce them. For instance, Facebook does not let you provide alternative text for images and so Media Access Australia provides this in the first comment below the image. Similarly, when posting a link to a video we will always mention whether it is captioned or audio described.

The United States Government has recently published a how-to guide for creating accessible social media content which uses sociABILITY as a source of information. Improving the Accessibility of Social Media in Government guides people within government agencies on making Facebook, Twitter and YouTube content as accessible as possible.

This is indicative of a global trend. Once organisations and governments move towards making their websites accessible through such schemes as Australia’s National Transition Strategy, the scope gradually widens to include content put elsewhere on the web.

sociABILITY: social media for people with a disability talks through the barriers found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Skype and blogging, and guides users on overcoming them. The awareness this raises about the needs of people with disability online is vital for those who manage communities.

The author of sociABILITY, Dr Scott Hollier, is currently drafting a guide for National Disability Insurance Scheme providers on providing accessible information for clients.

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